Class of 1977
World No. 1 (1907)
Grand Slam Results
7-time major champion, 4-time Challenge Round, 2-time finalist
Member of the Australian (Australasian) Davis Cup Team 1905, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912, 1914, 1920
Member of the Australian (Australasian) Championship Davis Cup Team 1907, 1908, 1909, 1914, 1920
Overall Record: 28-11
Singles Record: 18-7
Doubles Record: 10-4
Contributions to Tennis
Norman Brookes was stylish and dapper on court, an ever-present driver’s cap on his head. He wore a button-down sweater, pressed white pants, and pristine white shoes. It was a debonair look, but Brookes had a good-looking game to back up his appearance.
Until Brookes arrived on the scene, the Wimbledon Gentlemen Singles Championship was a closed fraternity for everyone except native Britons. In 1907, the Aussie became the first non-British player since play began in 1877 to win the championship. His triumph was resounding and dominant – a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Arthur Gore. It provided some solace for Brookes who lost the 1905 finale to one of the fraternity's five-time champions, Laurie Doherty, 8-6, 6-2, 6-4. With that victory came another first at Wimbledon: the left-handed playing Brookes became the first southpaw to win a Wimbledon title. He had an unorthodox game – using both sides of the racquet for both his forehand and backhand – and employed a serve that twisted, spun, and skidded on the grass surface away from his opponent.
It took seven years, but Brookes captured another Wimbledon title in 1914, this time ending the four-year reign of New Zealander Anthony Wilding, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. World War I suspended play at Wimbledon from 1915-18 and when play resumed in 1919 Brookes was in the final, losing a tough match to Aussie Gerald Patterson in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.
Outside of his success at Wimbledon, Brookes played for the Australian Nationals Singles Championship only once in 1911, but throttled compatriot Horace Rice, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, making him perfect in his major championship wins – nine sets played, nine sets won.
Brookes won four major doubles championships – two at Wimbledon, one each at the U.S. Nationals and Australian Championships. His two Wimbledon titles came alongside Wilding in 1907 and 1914, providing him with championships in both singles and doubles in both years. He and Patterson needed five long sets (8-6, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-2) to defeat Americans Vincent Richards and Bill Tilden at the 1919 U.S. National Championships, but it was a sweet victory over two fellow Hall of Famers. His last doubles crown came as a 46-year-old elder statesman at Australia in 1924, a routine straight sets (6-2, 6-4, 6-3) victory alongside James Anderson over Pat O’Hara Wood and Patterson.
Brookes spent virtually his entire amateur career playing on the Australasian (Australia and New Zealand) Davis Cup Team. He played 39 matches between 1905 and 1920 and compiled a 28-11 record. That mark included leading Australasia to five championships in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1914, and 1920. The 1907 title was the first for Australasia, 3-2 over the British Isles and four of the six victories came over the United States.
An estimable cricketer, bowler, and golfer, Brookes was knighted in 1939 “in recognition of service to public service” and Sir Norman served as President of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia for 29 years (1926-1955). His retirement drew a huge headline in the June 30, 1955 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. During World War I in 1914, Brookes served as commissioner of the Australian branch of the British Red Cross in Egypt.
The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup is presented each year to the winner of the Australian Open Men’s Championship.
Australian Championships: W 1911
Wimbledon: W 1907, 1914
U.S. Nationals: QF 1919
Australian Championships: W 1924
Wimbledon: W 1907, 1914
U.S. Nationals: W 1919